Hey, it’s Lexa and Caroline. We graduated from Butler University last Spring and set out to teach English in Spain and travel around Europe for the fall. We love meeting new people, learning about new cultures and trying out all the delicious food.
Budapest was on our list from the start of our semester. We decided to make it our last trip mostly because there were some pre-planned programs offered through WSAEurope– a travel group for students. After a whole semester of planning every detail of every city’s itinerary, we were ready to relax and enjoy a beautiful city. Seeing the city buzzing with life and all lit up at night was breathtaking and made us realize we definitely made the right decision in deciding to visit Budapest with its great mix of history, nightlife, and architecture.
We spent a lot of time at the Christmas markets shopping for gifts and trying various local foods. One of our must-have sweet treats is the chimney cake. The dough was slow cooked over a grill and topped with your choice of toppings – cinnamon-sugar, cocoa, coconut, berries, etc. They were the perfect treat to warm you up on a cold day.
One thing Budapest is famous for is its ruin bars, which we really didn’t know much about until we arrived. One of the oldest is Szimpla Kert, which serves as an open venue with several restaurants and bars at night and a farmer’s market during the day. We ate one of the most delicious burgers we’ve ever had at this bar and it only cost a couple of dollars due to the incredibly favorable currency exchange.
I’m not sure what restaurants to advise for this next “must have” dish because I got it at a Christmas market, but definitely be on the lookout for the Hungarian Langos – a traditional fried bread topped with garlic, sour cream, and cheese. It’s absolutely delicious, but may require a friend to share it with and a massive pile of napkins.
Things to Do:
If you go in the winter, the baths are a must! We went to the Széchenyi Thermal Bath, which also hosts “Spa Parties” in the warmer months. There are several baths throughout the city, but we chose the Szechenyi baths.
Don’t leave Budapest without going to the rooftop bar, 360, near the Opera House. The view at night is absolutely breathtaking, and if you go in the winter, they set up heated igloos.
Places to Stay:
We stayed at the Sziget Hostel which was one of the best hostels throughout our European trip. The rooms weren’t really anything special, but the staff was phenomenal. They had events planned that brought all the backpackers together – riverboat cruises at night, bar crawls, etc. It is in a great area – a 5-minute walk to Old Town Budapest – located at Ó utca 37.